Will Your Child Leave God?

Will Your Child Leave God - Parenting Like HannahLet’s be honest. There are a lot of terrifying things about being a parent. Just the whole keeping them alive and relatively healthy thing can be a challenge at times. Yet, I think the thing that has always terrified me the most is some day my daughter might reject God. In fact, if I even let the thought enter my brain as a remote possibility for more than a few seconds, I get weepy.

I always get angry when preachers and youth minsters make it sound as if it is a given young people will turn their backs on God when they are young adults. According to them, the only hope is that your children will return once they marry and have kids. Yet, I have known plenty of young adults, who not only stayed faithful, but lived their faith, served others and shared their faith in their teens and 20’s. Unfortunately though, those ministers are right more than they are wrong. Studies show most kids will leave God when they leave home… and both for the rest of their lives.

What can you do to prevent your child from leaving God? There are no insurance policies, because your child has free choice and so do all of the people with whom they come in contact. You can greatly improve the odds your child will not only stay faithful, but grow to become a godly, servant leader in the church. You just need to remember this one tip.

Do whatever you need to do to prepare your child to lead a “successful” Christian life.

That’s it. No more, no less. You and your spouse (if you have one) must be intentional and do whatever you can to prepare your child to be successful as a Christian. I won’t lie. It’s not a walk in the park. It will take a lot of time and intentional effort. You can’t farm out your responsibility to your church – no matter how great their ministries may be. It may require sacrifices on your part. Maybe even a lot of large sacrifices. You will parent differently than most parents. You will have to be strong enough to do what is right and not just follow the crowd. You will probably be teased and talked about behind your back. Your kids may chafe at times because they are expected to make choices their peers aren’t expected to make.

Here’s another important tip. You can’t afford to fail in preparing your child to lead a “successful” Christian life. You will make a lot of mistakes as a parent. I’m sure my daughter has a pretty long list of my mistakes if she’s keeping track. Most parenting mistakes may leave a little scar, but they rarely ruin a child’s secular life. Failing to prepare your child to lead a Christian life is setting him or her up for failure. The kind of failure that has eternal consequences. Everyone is afraid to tell parents that truth because it is the most terrifying truth you will ever hear.

Yes, some are converted as adults and become strong Christians. Odds are much greater that if your child has not accepted God and the Christian life by age 18, they most likely never will. Those who leave God in the young adult years stay away from God more than they return.

No matter what you do, your children may still reject God. You can’t control their choices, but you can control whether or not you shrug your shoulders and give up on them spiritually. If your children walk away, fight as if you were fighting for their very soul – because you are.

In the meantime, make a spiritual battle plan for your child. You are at war with Satan for your child’s soul. Fight that battle with everything you have. Get help when you need it. Spend every bit of time and effort needed to make sure you are giving your personal Christian parenting ministry 120%. This is one battle you have to do everything in your power to win.

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking. Their daughter Katrina, who has been an integral part of their service adventures, attends Pepperdine University.

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